Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sinister 2

Sinister had a generic name, especially since there was already something called "Insidious" out there, and I've probably been making comments about how I'm not sure which series I've seen ever since there was just one of each. When I saw that both had an entry scheduled for this summer, I was legitimately confused.

I suspect that even if it were the other way around - if I'd seen the previous Insidious movies but missed Sinister - I might have gone for this anyway, because it always tickles me to see someone whose work I'd seen at genre festivals like CiarĂ¡n Foy get a chance to do something bigger. this one doesn't seem to have been much of a hit - it got steamrolled by Straight Outta Compton like everything else and was one of three disappointing premieres last week - but it seems like Foy already has a new job lined up, one which will take him back to doing something distinctly Irish. Who knows, maybe being able to put "from the director of Sinister 2" on that, what with it being a known studio product, will help it get an audience faster that one might expect.

One other kind of funny thing: Universal released this under the Gramercy label, which I can't remember them using for years, complete with a new logo and everything. I haven't seen any indication that they're going to use it as a more indie label or anything going forward, and I kind of wonder if it's something the Blumhouse production company is doing to keep their name the one people remember when they partner with larger studios. Heck, they're releasing a movie with Orion soon, and I don't think that's been a going concern for decades.

I wound up seeing this after Drunken Master at Films at the Gate, but went up the orange line to see it at Assembly Row because it started fifteen minutes earlier, and thus would likely end fifteen minutes earlier, getting me home and in bed early enough not to be totally sleep deprived the next morning when I had stuff to do on the way to my niece's birthday party. I should have timed the distance from Downtown Crossing to Assembly Row so that I can make that decision with data in the future.

Sinister 2

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 29 August 2015 in AMC Assembly Row #9 (first-run, DCP)

I wonder if, when building horror movies like Sinister, the writers ever stop and think that a premise would be easy to reuse, so that if a film is even a modest success, sequels could be made without being tied to the original cast and a steady stream of royalty income will come their way even if whatever they do after moving on tanks and they can't get hired. That may not necessarily be what led to Sinister 2, but it might have been - same basic idea, new family to prey upon. It's not quite so exciting as a result, but there are things to recommend it.

The new family is named Collins, with mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and sons Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zachary (Dartanian Sloan) trying to keep a low profile as her abusive ex-husband Clint (Lea Coco) is doing all he can to reclaim custody of the boys. That's why she's staying in a vacant farmhouse which nobody wants any part of due to the ritualistic murder that happened in the church that's also on the property. The latest private detective to show up (James Ransone) wasn't hired by Clint, though - he was the deputy who helped Ellison Oswalt with his research in the previous film, and he's been driven to investigate that sort of killing ever since that case left him shaken. Courtney and her kids being in the house throws a monkey wrench into his plans, and he doesn't even know about the ghost children that Dylan has been seeing.

Those ghosts are the ones introducing Dylan to a cache of home movies that end in grisly family annihilations, and there's a sense that returning writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill recognize that this is a bit old-hat the second time around, with the home movies getting name-checked asbeing a thing associated with evil entity Bughuul by a scientist (Tate Ellington) who bristles at being called "the new Jonas", referencing the previous movie's expert on the paranormal. It's not close to full-on winking at the camera, but between it and a bit where "Deputy So-and-So" seeks advice from a priest, there's an odd sort of taking the supernatural premise for granted.

Full review on EFC.

No comments: